Leprosy – Hansen’s disease – is a disease that causes disability and disfigurement. Today, leprosy can be easily cured, though there are still many people in the world who suffer from the disease because of poverty and poor hygiene. But in our Lord’s time, with no treatment, leprosy was a cause of fear and horror. Sufferers were labelled as ‘lepers.’ They were considered unclean, isolated from family and society.
In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus taught his disciples about the power of faith. Today, ten men suffering from leprosy approach Jesus on the edge of the village. They have faith that Jesus can cure them, and he does. But only one man, finding himself cured, comes back to thank Jesus. His faith is completed by gratitude. Faith is a trusting readiness to receive the great things God does for us, and also a grateful recognition of what God has done and is doing in our lives. Ironically, the one man who comes back to give thanks is a Samaritan, a despised foreigner. Jesus welcomes everyone who has faith in him.